There are two sides to this question and thus, two answers. If you want to know- is testosterone a steroid hormone in the sense of it being an illegal steroid like the ones you see on TV, then no it is not.
The testosterone used in therapy is entirely legal and safe for use. However, if you are asking is testosterone considered a steroid, then it is. However, testosterone different from steroids in various ways. Most people assume that testosterone replacement therapy is just like taking steroids. However, this thought is filled with misinformation and half-truths.
Let’s Go Back To the Basics
Testosterone therapy is a method that is commonly used to treat deficiencies of the hormone in men. Low testosterone levels are known to be a medical condition that can affect the quality of life. Your doctor will, therefore, prescribe testosterone medications to help boost your natural production of the hormone.
You will have to exhibit symptoms of testosterone shortage to get the medications. This makes one of the most significant differences between steroid abuse and TRT. With TRT, you only get medications if you have been tested and found to have low testosterone levels. There are four many types of TRT.
TRT uses several methods to ensure that testosterone levels are elevated in your body. While the medications can have side effects, their benefits are more than their disadvantages. You can choose to ingest the testosterone medication or have implants placed under your skin. These implants will be replaced every three to four months.
What Are Steroid Hormones?
Steroid hormones are best described as steroids that can act as hormones do. These can be classified into two classes; corticosteroids and sex steroids. Most people who ask the question- is testosterone a anabolic steroid, are often thinking about bodybuilders and their puffed muscle. Testosterone falls under the category of sex steroids. Steroids can be described as synthetic versions of testosterone. They are often developed to treat men whose testes are not producing enough testosterone to fuel day-to-day activities. The hormone can also be used to increase body lean muscle mass and bone density. Corticosteroids are synthetic substances that are used to help the body fight inflammation. They often mimic the cortisol effects in the body when fighting inflammation.
For athletes, steroids are used to help them gain competitive edge. Because of this, they are not recommended for athletes to make the games fair for all players.
How Steroid Hormones Work
Usually, when these steroids get into your body, they are broken down, get attached to the protein serum present, and transported. They then attach themselves to androgen receptors, which in turn, activates them. Once the receptors have been activated, the body begins to speed up the process of building muscles and destroying fat deposits. The body produces more protein than standard, which is an excellent source of energy and a way for your body to get more muscles even with little workouts. You may be interested to know that anabolic is a name that is derived from the Greek word anabole, which means the act of building up.
Muscle build up is not the only role these steroid hormones play. They also work to inhibit glucocorticoids. Blocking these androgen receptors increases the speed at which proteins are broken down to amino acids, and this increases your energy levels. After training, you will also need little recovery time. This means that you can train harder and need little rest.
Patients who undergo testosterone replacement therapy, however, do not report feeling overly strong or seeing an increase in their lean muscle mass. This is probably because this treatment aims at increasing the testosterone levels only to the normal range. Studies have shown that natural testosterone levels just work to improve performance in daily activities and do not have the same effects as steroids. You would have to take a very high dosage for it to increase your muscle mass. However, the same study showed that natural testosterone levels in men help to reduce fat storage. This could be the cause of the increased energy levels and reduced fatigue.
So What Is The Big Difference Between Using Steroids And TRT?
The medications that are used by both TRT patients and steroid users are very similar. The poisonous part, however, is in the dosages used. Their other differences are in the way they are obtained and administered. TRT is a medical procedure where patients are supposed to get testosterone dosages that are close to the amounts the body would produce naturally. It is meant to improve the quality of life. However, most anabolic steroids are not taken with a doctor’s supervision, and athletes obtain them from illegal dealers with the aim of improving their performance and increasing their body muscles.
While both have side effects, steroids tend to have more pronounced ones, and some can be life-threatening. This is mainly because of the dosages that have to be taken to allow a person to look good. When done with the supervision of a doctor, the side effects of TRT tend to be minimal.
Low testosterone is a massive problem among men. It can affect the quality of life immensely. However with TRT, it gets better, and the effects of decreased testosterone are reduced. So, the answer to the question- is bioidentical testosterone a steroid is a resounding yes. However, testosterone is given by doctors in dosages that will help patients get back to their daily lives. It also has minimal side effects as compared to steroids and other such medications. With time, TRT improves a person’s life while steroids do the opposite.